Photo: Nomad Tanzania
Tanzania Safari 2012
Mahale Chimps, Big Game in Katavi, Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti
13 nights in Tanzania combining: Chada Katavi and Greystoke Mahale in the west with Serengeti Safari camp and Lamai Serengeti in the Serengeti… with walking safaris, game drives & chimp trekking with Huw Jones as your private guide. Minimum of 4 people for this safari, maximum of 6 people.
Day 1 Arrive Tanzania
Arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport (best option) you will be met by Huw at the airport and transferred by road to Onsea House in the beautiful countryside near Arusha only a 30 minute drive. Some great views of Mount Kilimanjro and Mount Meru on the way in. At Onsea house you can relax after your long flight and acclimatise to the warm and calm environment of Africa. Comfortable rooms, wonderful views and lovely food await you. Onsea has unparalleled views across the Maasai steppe, the Monduli Mountains and the unrivalled spectacle of Mount Meru rising above. We spend our fist night at Onsea in preparation for our journey to the wild and remote west of Tanzania in the morning.
Day 2 Chada Katavi
We wake early with a light breakfast on the veranda, prana from the warm morning sun revitalises us as we enjoy our tiffin. We say our goodbyes to the friendly Onsea staff and gently meander our way by road to Arusha airport, glancing at the magnificence of Kilimanjaro looming above. We smoothly depart on our journey by air onto the wonderful west. Below us hundreds of wild kilometers of Africa speed by, the plane is a Cessna Caravan with high wings and allows us to see the land below, remote communities, wildlife, and miles and miles of bush country.
We stop about halfway in the small dusty town of Tabora to refuel. Livingstone followed later by Stanley passed close to this settlement many decades ago on their way to a vast and distant lake. We take off after a cold drink and fuel for the aircraft and after more magnificent miles of bush we arrive into Katavi, as we circle to land we see buffalo and elephant on the plains below. We gently land and are met by a comfortable 4x4 game viewing vehicle and taken to camp in time for a late lunch and a welcome siesta. Our accommodation is large spacious luxury tents, on-suit bathrooms are under the stars and sky, leaves from the shade trees above flutter down and tickle us as we shower and refresh. The warm breeze from the Chada plain in-front of the tent cools us and dries us as we siesta and doze between book and watching antelope play and leap on the grass plain beyond.
We awaken and after another cooling shower, wander over to the large 'mess tent' full of leather chairs and bookshelves full of novels and books on adventure and wildlife. We look out across the Chada plain and may see giraffe feeding on the acacias in the distance. We sit and glance through a coffee table book, or peer through the camp telescope at the animals on the plain, or leaf through our favourite novel, sipping a cool drink and look up every now and then at the game and birds on the plains. We head out with our guide and armed scout for an afternoon walk to stretch our legs. We walk through shady acacia trees lining the plain and move closer to the giraffe, we spy elephant and a lone buffalo and droves of Impala and Tsesebe. Birds are all around us and the air is filled with scent and adventure and of many wonderful things to come.
As the sun starts to sink we see the camp fire already set as we amble into camp and the mess tent and sit in comfortable camp chairs watching the greatest of sunsets with our favourite drink in hand, cooling and soothing as we listen for the night symphony of insects to strum up their song. As the first star of the night, Jupiter, twinkles above we have a moment to refresh in our tents, a shower perhaps or a change of clothes and then its to the long table in the mess tent, all laid out most splendidly, glowing golden in the light of the paraffin lanterns and candles all about. White table cloth, polished cutlery, crisp napkins, the wonderful and warm smile of the Tanzanian waiter and local guide and the flow of crisp delicious wine or water into clear clean glasses...a sumptuous dinner ensues.
After dinner we sit by the fire, stars above, a hyena calls in the long distance, haunting and ancient, a lion may respond and we slowly bid our good nights and settle into our large comfortable beds and click off the solar powered light on the bedside table. We lie awake a short while and listen to Africa all around us cosy under our large romantic mosquito net, we know that this is the way we will spend our evenings in the days ahead either under canvas or thatch and we drift into a long and peaceful sleep. Thus there is no need to elaborate on the days in camp ahead as you now have it in mind, i will from here give you a taste of what to expect each day for your activities…
Day 3 Chada Katavi
We wake to the gentle cooing of the turtle dove, a sound so synonymous with Africa. We can take a selection of teas or coffee in our tent as we slowly wake up, the African dawn is most welcoming indeed. We decide to go for a game drive to explore the areas beyond the plain. We pass by water holes, a drying river, huge herds of buffalo and elephants perhaps. We stop under the shade of a huge ficus tree overlooking a large waterhole full of hippo and crocs, sounds, sensations are everywhere. Its all here, we just need to relax and we will find it. We enjoy cold drinks or tea and coffee and watch the game animals and birds abound. We return to camp for lunch and then if in the mood we can again set out on a game drive or even a walk, whatever the whim.
Day 4 Chada Katavi-Flycamp
We have a choice, but this is something I recommend, a night out in a fly camp. If we feel the energy is there, we set out on foot, and keep going. We walk all morning seeing magnificent game on foot with our local guide and armed scout. Eventually we spy a table all spread out for lunch under a large shade tree, overlooking a vast plain, Katisunga, a friendly smile greets us, a waiter keen to serve and refresh us, there is noone else about, it has been set up especially for us, table chairs, bush lunch and drinks in the middle of beauty. We sit in comfortable chairs and can take of shoes and socks to expose to air, a cold drink perhpas, or wine. A delicous lunch in the bush, eating and talking and watching giraffe or elephants on the plains, and numerous other animals. After lunch a sleep on soft man size pillow rugs, we lie, wathing the blue sky above through the trees leaves, the odd cloud, and a beautiful eagle soaring and spiraling way above us.
We awake and enjoy a drink and then set off again on foot to our fly-camp, we wander and see many beautiful animals and birds, tracks and signs, trees and flora. As the sun starts to sink we see a fire, twinkling in the golden light, a table set out and our small comfortable fly tents, no cover, just mosquito nets, we sleep comfortably under the stars. A loo with a view is not far off, the short route is romantically lined by a series of paraffin lanterns, the loo is a box seat over a hole and nature all around, beyond a little further, behind a thicket, is the shower, all open plan, no one can see you, you shower looking out into the bush, the warm air embraces you as you shower in hot water from a canvas bucket strung over a branch of the tree above, a splendid experience. A bush dinner, with the same service and detail as main camp, is laid out before us, when we slip into our mosquito net tents, we lie under a huge and magnificent start strewn sky, the heavens are vast above, the milk way painted across thousand of stars and solar systems, Scorpio, The Southern Cross, Orion and his hunting dog Sirius at his heal a multitude of others and we sink into deep sleep.
Day 5 Chada Katavi-day drive
Dawn and we wake, tea or coffee is brought to us, beyond the thickets nearby a waft of freshly baked bread (baked in a hole in the earth) and breakfast tickles our senses. We rise and showers are ready for us, again open plan, no one can see you, as you shower in the open, watching the big plain and enjoying the experience. After a short breakfast, we climb on board the game viewing vehicle that has been left for us the day before and we head off on a morning game drive seeing animals and birds galore. We stop mid-morning with a great view and enjoy more refreshments under shade tree. We move on and eventually reach an area called paradise, a huge lagoon lined by palm trees, full of hippo. We enjoy a grand bush lunch and siesta much as we did the day before. We climb onto our vehicle and drive towards the main camp Chada and see what game we may find, perhaps lion or leopard or even Cheetah.
Day 6 Greystoke Mahale
After a very relaxing morning and breakfast, we bid our farewells to the wonderful Katavi staff and hosts and meander our way by vehicle to the airstrip. We depart from Chada Katavi for our one-hour flight to Mahale airstrip further to the West. As we approach the area we spy a vast lake, Tanganyika below us, the water twinkling in the bright sunlight, across the water miles i the distance looms the Congo. The airstrip is right next to the lake and we are greeted by the warmth of a Tanzanian guide. We are helped into a large Dhow, boats so well know on the exotic shore of the Indian Ocean .We slip though the water powered a by a strong and quite engine, the mountains of Mahale and Mount Nkungwe above us, covered in semi-tropical forest full of Chimps and Colobus a other exotic animals and birds as we go we have a picnic on board with drinks and happy conversation.
Bay after bay and we eventually reach the glorious and unique Greystoke lodge. A pue white sandy beach, lined by forest and the green mountains rinsing up high to the plateau above. Exotic open-fronted rooms, each one with en-suite bathroom, accessable by short boardwalk, dressing room and upstairs chill-out deck. An amazing living and dining room. Wonderful bar on rock crop. Lovely hosts and staff.
We have a chance for some afternoon refreshments before we head out on a walk to see if we may chance some Chimps or colobus monkey and one of the beautiful waterfalls in the Mountain side. We return at sundown and a drink at the bar, looking over the vast lake, stars above, some reflected in the lake water. Dinner is served in the most spectacular thatch and wood dining room on the lake.
Day 7 Greystoke Mahale
We wake and breakfast in the mess. The early sun rises over the mountains and beams across the lake to the Congo in the distance. We head off with our guide and trackers in search on the different groups of chimpanzee that live in the mountain. Narrow trails lead off through the semi-tropical forest. We weave our way through varying levels of vegetation, spying red colobus and blue monkey above, calling and scuttling along through the trees.
We come across signs of Chimps, spoor and feeding spots. There are over 800 chimps in the Mahale mountains, however only one group known as 'M' of about 60 animals are we able to get very close to and be amongst, they have been gradually habituated over the years by a Japanese research project, founded in the 1960's. Being close to these animals is a very powerful and stirring experience.
We move back to camp to a sumptuous lunch. After lunch its up to you, a siesta perhaps, or a lounge on the sandy beach to soak up the sun with a swim in the lake water. After a rest we can head out again in the Dhow or speed boat to a secluded bay where we dive into the water with snorkels and fins and watch the incredible diversity of fish life, colourful cichlids shimmer by.
We reach camp and enjoy the sun sinking into the lake and enjoy a beach dinner under the stars on the beach.
Day 8 Greystoke Mahale
We start the day with more chimp trekking after breakfast; we may take some snacks along with us and enjoy the sensations of being among the chimps. If we have walked rather too far the boat will meet us on the lake shore and take us back to camp, stopping near the waterfalls for a swim in the ice-cold rock pools. The rest of the day is spent lounging on the beach or perhaps a walk into the forest to look for colobus and other mammals and birds.
Day 9 Serengeti Safari Camp
Morning departure from Mahale Airstrip to the central Serengeti.
The next morning we set of by boat for the Mahale airstrip, passing beautiful bays on the way we are met at the airstrip and begin our eastwards journey to the plains of the Serenegti. As we did on our journey in we may stop at Tabora to refuel. When we reach the vast plains if the Serengeti we may spot the vast collection of animals that is the migration from the plane below us. We gently touch down at the airstrip and are driven to Serengeti Safari camp in the Western Corridor. The Serengeti Safari camp is a luxury mobile tented camp that shadows the movement of the great wildebeest migration. The Migration covers hundreds of miles of the Serengeti each year and the camp moves to find the best locations to keep in tune and keep up with the migration.
Day 10 Serengeti Safari Camp
We head out into the plains and search for the great migration huge numbers of Wildebeest and Zebra abound as well as other game species and predators, we are literally surrounded by the migration is all its glorious technicolour...wildebeest, gazelles and zebras i huge numbers and the thundering of hooves!
Day 11 Lamai Serengeti
We move to Lamai Serengeti, stopping for a splendid picnic lunch on the way in the shade of a large spanning acacia. We may spy a cheetah or lion on the way. Arriving at camp we are rather amazed by the incredible view from the camp. Built among the rocks of Kogakuria Kopje with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, just a few miles from where the wildebeest cross the Mara river. The migration is right on our doorstep.
Day 12 Lamai Serengeti
We are close to the Mara river and we may be lucky to see the migration crossing the crocodile infested waters of this legendary river. At this time of year there's a decent chance of seeing the wildebeest move back & forth in both directions...it requires a lot of patience and even more luck!
We may go for walks between the camp and the Mara river with an armed guide, ending with sundowners on the highest spot in the area, directly behind camp, with the most magnificent views over the plains.
Day 13 Lamai Serengeti
Game drives, walks, lazy days on our private verandas or by the swimming pool, the choice is ours. We can also take a safari north of the river into the Lamai wedge, a small triangle of ground between the Kenya border and the Mara river, rich in plains game and predators and a good contrast to the kopjes and network of water courses south of the river.
Day 14 Depart
Time to bid our farewells, for now, to the Serengeti and time for a final game drive before heading to the airstrip for our scheduled flight back to Arusha and beyond!
What to expect:
In Katavi: expect to see huge concentrations of buffalo, hippo & crocodile, as well as elephant, lion, leopard and a wide variety of plains game & birdlife. Small authentic tented camp located in excellent game country, with a chance to also fly camp and walk.
In Mahale: as well as days spent chimping, expect to see other forest game, warthog, baboon (even down on the beach) and possibly even leopard as well as great flowers, trees and exceptional birdlife. Enjoy some kayaking, fishing and even swimming and snorkelling in crystal clear aquamarine water to view the phenomenal variety of incredibly coulourful cichlids, many endemic to Lake Tanganyika - one vast tropical fish aquarium.
In the Serengeti: Wildebeest migration in either the western Corridor or up around the Mara river - or quite possibly both given the time of year. Huge feasting crocs on the Grumeti & Mara rivers, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, buffalo, hippo & great elephant in the Mara area in particular.
Combine the small authentic tented camp feel of Serengeti Safari Camp alongside the small lodge comfort of Lamai Serengeti with its swimming pool and private verandahs with stunning views north over the Mara river valley and Lamai wedge beyond. Game drives, walking safaris, dinner under the stars, amazing variety of landscape and birdlife and great concentrations of game.
This safari can be taken in September and October 2012. Dates in both months are are flexible at the moment if a minimum of 4 people book together. Bookings can be made up to October 20th.
Recommended dates: September: 1st-14th or 16th-31st. October: 3rd -17th .
Guests need to make their own flight arrangements to Tanzania Kilimanjaro International Airport, from then on you are with me all the way! Bookings and deposits must be made by July 31th 2012.
All activities, full board accommodation, drinks and laundry, internal transfers and flying doctor cover.
Price does not include:
International flights to Tanzania, medical insurance.
For bookings please contact Huw Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org